The business entity known for the past 45 years as Duncan Lawrie is being broken up and sold, it was announced today, with the loan book of the private banking business going to Arbuthnot Latham & Co, and the asset management arm to Brewin Dolphin Ltd.
Discussions are said to be currently under way “with a number of other parties” with respect to Duncan Lawrie’s Isle of Man-based offshore trust services business.
In a statement, London-based Duncan Lawrie cited a previously-noted “change in the outlook for private banking”, coupled with the “conservative risk appetite” and “opportunities for investment elsewhere in the group” on the part of its parent, Camellia Plc, for the decision to sell off the Duncan Lawrie businesses.
Maidstone, England-based, AIM-listed Camellia describes itself as an international company engaged in a number of business sectors, including agriculture, banking and financial services.
Arbuthnot Latham is paying £42.7m for “the majority of Duncan Lawrie’s UK loans and certain of its Isle of Man loans”, which Duncan Lawrie says equates to 95% of the total £44.9m value of the outstanding loans, according to the statement, which is posted on the Duncan Lawrie website.
A subsequent orderly wind down of Duncan Lawrie’s deposit taking and other banking operations in the UK and Isle of Man has, the company adds, been proposed.
Following the sale, Duncan Lawrie will be “fully funded to return all cash balances to clients”, the bank said.
Brewin Dolphin is to pay £28m in cash for Duncan Lawrie Asset Management, subject to regulatory approval. According to Duncan Lawrie, the asset management business has more than £35bn in funds under management, and has maintained “a long-term commitment to the market”.
As part of the transaction, the Duncan Lawrie portfolio management team will move to Brewin Dolphin, the company said, enabling it to better ensure “continuity of service” for its existing clients while also offering them access to Brewin Dolphin’s “broader investment management and financial planning offering”.
Roots in 19th C India
Although the current Duncan Lawrie business dates back only to 1971, the roots of the business go back some 150 years, according to a history on the company’s website. That was when two Scotsmen, Alexander Lawrie and Walter Duncan, made their way to Calcutta from Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively, and started businesses that they named after themselves, which eventually were merged into one.
Today, the company’s parent, Camellia, is still involved in the production and marketing of tea, one of the areas in which the founders of Duncan Lawrie got their start.
It wasn’t immediately known whether the Duncan Lawrie name will continue to exist in any way once the sale of the various parts of the business have been completed.